Harit Pradesh passé, demand for ‘Greater Delhi’ picks up pace
The demand for a separate state of ‘Greater Delhi’ is in existence since independence with names such as Kisan Pradesh, Indraprastha and Harit Pradesh. Like Kisan Pradesh and Indraprastha, the demand for Harit Pradesh, which was led by Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh, lost its momentum in the past few years.Updated: Nov 08, 2019 14:07 IST
A common saying in colloquial language ‘Hame Nyara Kar Do, Ab Saath Nahi Chala Jata’ (Separate us, we can’t walk together) is gaining momentum among people demanding ‘Greater Delhi’, a separate state for over 80 million inhabitants of 17 districts of western UP.
The movement is spearheaded by national president of Pathik Sena, Mukhiya Gurjar, also member of BJP`s state working committee for OBC front, and his son Kulvinder Singh, president of Zila Panchayat, Meerut.
The demand is in existence since independence with names such as Kisan Pradesh, Indraprastha and Harit Pradesh. Like Kisan Pradesh and Indraprastha, the demand for Harit Pradesh, which was led by Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh, lost its momentum in the past few years.
So what’s new?
A lot, says Mukhiya, claiming the demand for ‘Greater Delhi’ is more pragmatic and could be acceptable to governments because it could be established with minimum and available resources. Pradeep Raghunandan, leader of Rrashtriya Yuva Shakti organization, says that the step-motherly treatment of governments has given rise to the demand. Citing example in support, he says, ‘Demand for timely payment of sugarcane dues has been persisting for decades as also the demand for a bench of High Court in western UP.
There are many other issues of people which are being ignored’. Mukhiya says all three central universities were established in Allahabad, Varanasi and Lucknow and the west got only mental hospitals in Bareilly and Agra. “Why so?”. He said the only solution to peoples` problems was now formation of ‘ Greater Delhi’.
The ‘Greater Delhi’ leaders are also organizing different conventions to intensify the movement. Its first major convention was held at the auditorium of CCS University on October 13 in which thousands of people gathered and a call for ‘Hame Nyara Kar Do, Ab Saath Nahi Chala Jata’ was given in this convention, which became popular among supporters of the movement.
The leaders have now decided to organize district level conventions before launching a protest and Dharna at Jantar–Mantar in Delhi on December 2 to further intensify the movement. Gurjar says that Naari Shakti Sammelan have also been planned at different places in which women who have earned names in their respective fields would spearhead the Sammelan to create a favourable atmosphere for movement among the women folk.
Besides, different groups of people, including students and traders, are also being reached out to garner their support.
Mukhiya says that he belongs to BJP and his movement is not against government or party but for the good of the people.
Concept of ‘Greater Delhi’
Gurjar says that 17 districts of western UP (Meerut, Baghpat, Shamli, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Moradabad, Sambhal, Amroha, Hapur, Ghaziabad, Noida, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Hathras, Mathura and Agra) will be merged with existing Delhi state. A selected part of New Delhi where Parliament, embassies are situated could be declared Union Territory. It will also resolve the demand of declaring Delhi as a full state and over 80 million people of these districts of western UP will also get a new state. Presently, Delhi Assembly has 70 MLAs and with 90 more MLAs from these districts, Delhi Assembly will be bigger in size with 160 MLAs for a full statehood.
‘Benefits of ‘Greater Delhi’
Majority of people in western UP are of the opinion that good governance is possible in a smaller state. At present UP has approximately 240928 sq kms, 75 districts, 80 Lok Sabha constituencies, 403 assembly constituencies, 18 divisions, 350 tehsil and 851 blocks.
Lawyers of western UP are up in arms for over six decades to push their demand for a bench of High Court in western UP because people from west have to travel a long distance to reach at High Court in Allahabad to pursue their cases. Mukhiya Gurjar claims that west UP generates 70 percent revenue of the state and in return gets only 18 percent of it to carry out developmental activities in the region. Besides, state capital Lucknow is also situated far away making it difficult for people to visit it to pursue their cases with different ministries.
Formation of ‘Greater Delhi’ will resolve their all issues. They will get high court in Delhi and the state capital will also come closer to their districts apart from all benefits of a smaller state. The level of education, employment, development and health services will definitely improve, they feel.
People are of the view that it will be easier for people to visit Delhi and other places because all these districts of western UP are well connected with Delhi. Agra region has direct connectivity through Yamuna Expressway and Agra-Delhi highway. The connectivity of commuters from Moradbabd region will improve after completion of Delhi-Meerut expressway. In Meerut and Saharanpur region, people will be able to reach Delhi in much lesser time after completion of Delhi-Meerut Expressway. Besides, the work on first regional rapid rail project between Meerut and Delhi has already started.
Gurjar claims that when Britishers shifted capital from Kolkata to Delhi, they included 65 villages of western UP. The present east Delhi was made of these villages. For example Shahdra was in western UP in that time. “Therefore, it will not be a problem to include the 17 districts in ‘Greater Delh’.”
R K Dev Tomar, president or Federation For New States, says many social and other organisations have joined hands with the movement. Tomar had been associated with movements for Telangana, Chhattisgarh and other new states and also with ‘Harit Pradesh’. He claims that political aspirations of Ajit Singh was one of the main reasons for dilution of the movement.
Tomar is now co-ordinating of different organisations, seeking to bring them on a single platform to transform them into a single and strong voice for the demand. He says political leaders don`t want bifurcation of the state because of their political interest, ignoring the fact that millions of people have been deprived of their rights. In his opinion, big states also spawn big corruption.
Pradip Raghunanda, president of Rashtriya Yuva Shakti, has also been co-ordinating with people and organisations in Braj Pradesh to bring them together for a separate state.
He says, ‘The concept of ‘ Greater Delhi’ is more pragmatic because it needs no separate assembly, high court and other establishments, which is already available with Delhi state. Therefore, it could be done with minimum available resources and expenses’.